Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, February 26, 2015


AN AMERICAN DREAM (aka See You In Hell Darling/1966). Director: Robert Gist.

When TV host Stephen Rojack (Stuart Whitman) pays a call on estranged wife, Deborah (Eleanor Parker), the vicious, drunken woman winds up falling off her balcony to her death. Rojack, grilled by police, does the sensible thing after his wife has just died and shacks up with old gal pal, Cherry (Janet Leigh). Rojack's father-in-law (Lloyd Nolan) contemplates pushing Stephen off of a balcony, and detectives Barry Sullivan and J. D. Cannon act like they'd like to tear his throat out. And we mustn't forget the whole host of mafia boys headed by Eddie Ganucci (Joe De Santis) and Johnny Dell (Warren Stevens) who have their own beef with Rojack. Whitman isn't bad, Parker [Lizzie] is vivid, Leigh plays it all in the key of bitter, Nolan is, frankly, terrible, Cannon over-acts in stock TV fashion, and Sullivan [Suspense] isn't much better. There are some interesting elements to An American Dream -- which is very loosely based on a novel by Norman Mailer -- but the movie is pretty much a melodramatic and at times even laughable mess. Acrophobes in the audience may have a few tense moments. Richard Derr has a bit as a producer while Murray Hamilton has a little more to do as an associate of Stephen's. Harold Gould and George Takei also have bits as lawyers. Whitman and Leigh appeared together in the monster bunny movie Night of the Lepus, which was actually a lot more entertaining than this.

Verdict: Everyone seems to be yelling -- or simmering -- to little effect. **.


angelman66 said...

I must check this one out, William. Though you don't seem to like it much, I'm sold on the idea of a shrewish Eleanor Parker falling off a balcony...I need to see it. But Night of the Lepus? That was one of the worst, as I recall, but I would give it a chance again if you recommend!

William said...

Well... I admit I have a fondness for giant monster bunny movies but I'm not certain I could recommend it although I did once make a friend sit through it (impatiently).

I do understand why you've got to see "American Dream" -- it's trash with some entertainment value, and Parker is nasty fun.

Neil A Russell said...

That's a pretty good cast, mostly TV grade but still, some good watchable character actors from the era.
That's one of the things I miss about movies today, it's getting hard to tell anyone apart.
The males all have to be square headed with spiky black hair and the women all have to have giant heads and stick bodies.
And not many over the age of 35 or so it seems to me!

William said...

Neil, that was a very funny description of today's actors! You're also right about the age of actors but we have to remember that some of the older folk are still around, such as Pacino, and Michael Douglas is no youngster, either, LOL! But actors, like cops, just get younger and younger, or am I just getting older, ha!